India, China will economically surpass U.S., U.K. in 2048

By Andrew Nusca | Nov 25, 2009 | 7 Comments

In a speech at TEDIndia, statistician Hans Rosling predicted the exact date that India and China’s economies will catch up with the U.S. and the U.K.

Background about Rosling: He’s a doctor and professor of global health at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute who previously identified a new paralytic disease induced by hunger in rural Africa. His current work focuses on dispelling common myths about the so-called “developing world.”

A few quoted takeaways from Rosling’s presentation:

“Asia will regain its dominant position as the leading part of the world, as it used to be, over thousands of years…I will [predict] that by trying to predict precisely at what year the average income per person in India, in China, will reach that of the West. And I don’t mean the whole economy, because to grow an economy of India to the size of U.K., that’s a piece of cake, with one billion people. But I want to see when will the average pay, the money for each person, per month, in India and China, when will that have reached that of U.K. and the United States?”

“People interested in growth are turning their eyes towards Asia.”

“Inequalities in China and India I consider really the big obstacle because to bring the entire population into growth and prosperity is what will create a domestic market, what will avoid social instability, and which will make use of the entire capacity of the population. So, social investments in health, education and infrastructure, and electricity is really what is needed in India and China.”

“What I’m really worried about is war. Will the former rich countries really accept a completely changed world economy, and a shift of power away from where it has been the last 50 to 100 to 150 years, back to Asia? And will Asia be able to handle that new position of being in charge of being the most mighty, and the governors of the world? So, always avoid war, because that always pushes human beings backward. Now if these inequalities, climate and war can be avoided, get ready for a world in equity. Because this is what seems to be happening.”

Rosling’s date on which India and China will economically catch up to the U.S.? July 27, 2048.

Listen to his justifications and see his statistical slides in the full video.

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